Hybrid vs Virtual School


Katalin Pennington, Writer

As everyone is well aware, TJ High School, along with the rest of FCPS, has opened their doors back up and are welcoming students in the building once again. On Tuesday, February 16th, the first students were welcomed back inside the school. Stepping back and looking you might find yourself wondering, is there any difference between a student who chose to stay virtual or one who chose to go hybrid. The two groups seem like they are polar opposites, but are they really? Is going back to school on a Hybrid schedule going to be worth it?

Hybrid is a great option for seniors who are struggling with their milestone year being virtual. A hybrid student may also be looking for some human interaction with people around their age, something that they haven’t been able to get much of with the pandemic or maybe to get a sense of a new normal that somewhat resembles the old normal. Hybrid can also be beneficial for teachers, almost every teacher at TJ has said that they hate talking to a bunch of icons and the silence that follows. Teachers are now expressing joy because they are actually getting to see students’ faces.

Although there are a few downsides to the hybrid learning schedule. There are a lot of things that could go potentially wrong. According to the FCPS Board of Education, if there are two students testing positive for Covid-19, that are in some relation to one another, it is considered an outbreak and will wipe out the whole class that those students were in. Everyone in the building has to be super careful as well to ensure that they are not spreading Covid.

I talked to TJ High School Senior, Cheyann Wallick, a hybrid student to get to know how hybrid students are feeling about the return to school. “I wanted to do hybrid because I wanted to be able to go to school for the last year of high school and have somewhat of a good senior year”, Wallick says, “I feel safe from Covid. I think that the staff made really great precautions and if people are staying far enough from each other and especially wearing their masks then everything makes me feel safe.” Wallick then declared, “I am happy with the choice I made. I was so much happier and motivated on the first day back than I ever was on virtual.”

Students who chose to stay all virtual have certainly chosen the safer option between the two. Since these students are staying home for school they are not running the higher risk of catching Covid because they are not around people. Students can also be more independent in their school work. Another perk is that virtual students are able to sleep in a little longer than hybrid students.

A downside to staying all virtual is that students might feel isolated or have a hard time feeling motivated. It could be quite hard to separate school and home. Virtual students will not be able to switch into hybrid. But hybrid students have the choice to opt out and go back to being all virtual should the situation arise.

I talked to TJ High School Senior, Katy Walz, an all virtual student to get a sense of the opposite end of the spectrum. “I don’t like waking up earlier and I don’t really want to be back in the school.” says Walz, “I don’t think I would enjoy being back in the building except to be with my friends.” When I asked her if she thinks she’ll ever regret not going back to school, she simply replied, “No.”

After hearing both sides of the story, I don’t think that it’s correct to say that either option is better than the other. People on both sides are happy with the choice they made, and that’s all that really matters. It’s simple, some students work better at school then at home. So, if going back in a safe hybrid environment is an option for them, then yes. Hybrid is worth it.